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Gluten free pumpkin muffins are a treat

A variety of Autumnal fruits featured at Heinen's local market
A variety of Autumnal fruits featured at Heinen's local marketBethane M. Evans

Pumpkins are popular and widely available this time of year. They make a great breakfast food as muffins or even in pancakes. This versatile fruit is related to squash, taking on different flavors from sweet to savory. The appealing warm color of pumpkins suggests phenolic content, necessary nutrients our bodies require to prepare for winter ahead. Pumpkins are low fat, high in fiber and carotenoids, reducing cardiovascular symptoms. When baking fresh pumpkin, remember to save the seeds. Seeds also offer multiple health benefits in their own right; containing B vitamins, proteins and amino acids for balancing brain chemistry and effectively addressing mood disorders. This recipe demonstrates easy steps for preparing a satisfying and appealing warm meal to jump start the day.

Sift dry ingredients
Sift dry ingredients Bethane M. Evans

Sift dry ingredients

While oven is preheating to 400 degrees F., sift together: 2 C. oat bran flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1tsp. sea salt, 1/4 tsp. fresh ground cloves, 1/2 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg and 1 tsp. cinnamon. You may add 1 Tbsp. of nutritional yeast and/or freshly ground flax seed.

 

Whip pumpkin
Whip pumpkin Bethane M. Evans

Whip pumpkin

Whip 1 small can of organic, or 2 cups fresh pumpkin until smooth after adding 2 eggs and 1 Tbsp. walnut oil. The eggs and nut oil add texture and omega 3 fatty acid.  Nut oils are perfect for enhancing flavor.  You may also elect to include 1 tsp. real vanilla extract or orange extract.

Blend moist with dry measurements
Blend moist with dry measurements Bethane M. Evans

Blend moist with dry measurements

Blend the moist ingredients with the dry measurements gently to ensure a homogenous consistency.  Careful not to over blend which can cause the mixture to become elastic. 

The blended pumpkin mixture
The blended pumpkin mixture Bethane M. Evans

The blended pumpkin mixture

Slowly pour ½ to 1 C. filtered water to the blended pumpkin mixture.  This ensures that the batter is not too wet which may depend on the type of pumpkin chosen.  The color will mellow to an orange characteristic of sherbet.

Prepare muffin tin
Prepare muffin tin Bethane M. Evans

Prepare muffin tin

Prepare regular sized muffin tin for 12 muffins or 6 jumbo muffin tin by lightly spraying with a high quality non-stick oil.  A dusting of oat bran flour further insures muffins will fall out effortlessly. Fill each muffin tin compartment generously so as to use all the batter.  Muffins are dense and do not rise considerably.  Best results are achieved with the 12 muffin tins. 

Top with a sprinkling of additional spices listed above or dried fruits or nuts for a festive flare.

Cooling baked pumpkin muffins
Cooling baked pumpkin muffins Bethane M. Evans

Cooling baked pumpkin muffins

Bake muffins for 15-20 minutes in the 400 degree F. preheated oven.  Bake a little longer if using jumbo muffin tins.  You know when they are done when the air fills with the familiar palatable flavor and the muffins have browned slightly.  Allow to cool sufficiently on a backing rack to prevent moisture from collecting inside the muffin tin. Loosen while still warm and enjoy immediately, sharing with family and friends.